The Californian’s Tale


Mark Twain

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The Californian’s Tale Characters

The Narrator

The unnamed narrator of “The Californian’s Tale” is a gold prospector who recounts his experiences thirty-five years prior, when he searched for gold in the region near California’s Stanislaus River. The narrator’s background is a… read analysis of The Narrator


The narrator first meets Henry when he comes across his well-maintained cottage. Henry is jovial and overflowing with love for his wife, who delicately decorated their cozy cottage retreat, over which he has… read analysis of Henry

Henry’s Wife

Though she never appears in the story, the presence of Henry’s wife is reflected in the feminine touches that have transformed his cottage into a lovely and inviting space. Henry insists his wife is… read analysis of Henry’s Wife


One of the grizzled miners still living on the Stanislaus. Alongside Charley and Joe, Tom plays along with Henry’s delusion that his wife will soon return in order to spare their friend from… read analysis of Tom
Minor Characters
Another miner who helps perpetuate Henry’s madness. Like Tom, Joe acts overjoyed to hear the letter from Henry’s wife, and he helps ease Henry’s uneasiness by entertaining him with alcohol and music. Joe is the one who discloses to the narrator the truth about the disappearance of Henry’s wife.
The third of Henry’s miner friends. While preparing for the “return” of Henry’s wife, Charley gives many a “hearty speech” to ease Henry’s apprehensions that she may be delayed.